Setting up a objectives for your marketing and sales is a good first step when creating a marketing strategy as we have shown in our last episode of the Marketing Strategy Show on the One Page Marketing Plan.
In our latest episode, we talk about starting your marketing strategy based on what your audience wants to hear from you. How do you find this out, the answer is obvious and yet not as easy as it seems – Research.
Good research gives you a lot of insights into your market and what drives buyers when they purchase.
And not only this, it will also allow you to find out what your buyers struggle with most and this enables you to find solutions that address these issues and then communicate the solutions in a way that will engage your potential clients.
In our Marketing Strategy Show podcast episode, John Wakeling from Marketingheads gave the example of a courier service that his company did a market research project for in order to “develop and hone” their communications strategy.
What they discovered, was a person who’s using a courier service cares about two things.
- The first (which was obvious) is how fast do they deliver? Because you want the recipient to get their package as soon as possible.
- The second (that was more hidden) is how fast do they pick up? Even the fastest delivery is no good when pick up takes forever, right?
Only by extensive research you will get that complete understanding of your customers and are able to put your understanding in the message you want to deliver to them.
Types of research
There are many different ways of research and people never stop discussing which one is the best.
Well, there’s no such thing as a perfect research method that covers every case and every industry.
So, when researching a market you want to make sure your method suits your needs. Most importantly, you want to make sure that you combine quantitative and qualitative research because they both have advantages the other one doesn’t so making use of both will give you the best results.
Quantitative and Qualitative
Quantitative research is good to gather information in general, identify gaps and targets, everything that is prompted, really. It gives you a good overview of your audience, key facts and such things.
You need this information as a baseline of your following research. A good desk research will do most of the time.
Qualitative research is where the difference is made. It is everything that is unprompted you want to find out.
It is identifying the underlying problem your customer might have. That is what you want to communicate to them. Methods you want to use are face-to-face interviews with “the chorus”.
“The chorus” are key influencers in the market of customers, non-customers, other stakeholders and opinion leaders. You want to make sure you talk to all of them to get broad insights of those who already buy your product. What they like or dislike. Those who don’t buy it yet and why not and those who influence others in their opinion about your product.
Ongoing research allows you to see changes in your business’ performance and link them to the strategies you’re using over time. So make sure you continue to measure regularly
Research in-house vs outsourcing
Keep in mind that independent researchers get different results than your company itself.
Imagine you ask your customers if they did or did not like anything about your product or service. Chances are quite high that they answer what you want them to.
Independent research agencies can provide privacy and confidentiality better, so they’ll get more open replies and what’s really going on. And that is what you really want.
Use the Research
It makes sense to develop a research guide before you go and let your client have a word in that, too. It makes sure you covered every area of business you want to explore, topics you want to discuss with your interviewee and anything else you want to cover.
Then, use your research insights to understand what the buyer is struggling with. Sometimes even they can’t quite put their finger on it. Try to understand, what they’re thinking about when they put in that Google search or when they decide to buy a certain product or service.
Then think of a way to fix their struggles with your services and put it in your messaging. Create a message through branding and communication that relates to their problems and let them know you can fix it. Use your knowledge to create your SEO optimisation as well rather than thinking about which searches are done more often than others.
Visualise your information, make it appealing! Nobody wants to hear “we’ve found out this or that”, they want to see in graphs and images where they can improve, where they’re performing and where they need to invest to reach your goals.
Doing your research right will help you directing your message even better to your target and finally, reach your growth goals.